Moms Don't Dig Dorney 5/11/03

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Sunday, May 11, 2003 8:19 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar For the second year in a row Dorney Park was a veritable ghost town on Mother's Day. Oddly enough the weather was almost exactly the same as last year too - grey overcast skies that look to be threatening downpours at any second yet never let loose. So I'm not exactly sure whether it's Mother's Day or the weather (or both) that keep the crowds away, but we're 2 for 2 - so I'm banking on next year being the same.

When I say ghost town, I literally mean ghost town, like creepy "where is everyone" empty. We left for Dorney around 3 pm (which means we arrived at about 3:10) and parked right in front of the main gate. The passholder lot was a little over half full and the regular lot was...well the word of the day is empty. As we were getting the kids out of the car we watched Talon - this is customary. If the train is full we head left when we enter, if it's empty we head there first. The first train we saw run had 4 riders in front and 1 in row 5. Ok, we're off to Talon.

Talon continues to impress me more and more everytime I ride. I've been on it enough times that I know it inside out and it still gives a great ride. Go for the back. Sure the front gives visuals on Inverteds, but Talon gives nice floaty airtime in the back. In addition you get a nice solid whip off the lift on the first drop. I've been on more B&M inverteds than I care to count, and Talon just delivers for me like no other. If you happen to spend an entire day at Dorney, make sure you get a night ride too. I swear there's some "after dark" button they push that cranks this thing up. It simply barrels through the course after the sun goes down. At any rate both me and my wife go a walk-on ride. Me in the last row left side and the wife in the front row left side (yes front row walk-ons happen on Mother's Day at Dorney). She agreed that there was no point in going for the front ever again. The back row is the best however rows 6 & 7 offer very similar ride. Enough of my Talon love poem - we each got a lap and moved on.

My daughter digs the Wild Mouse. We rode last weekend and I have to say the trims at the top that kept this "tame" haven't touched this season yet. The top part of the ride is as wild as any I've been on, the second half still has some big brake grabs, but it's better than nothing. My wife opted for the spin with our daughter and they walked-on. My wife doesn't care for wild mouse rides too much and expecting the "tame" Dorney version from last season, she came off with that "never again" look. Heh, good. More rides for me :)

We continues down towards Hercules. There was no one in the station waiting so we walked on for a front seat ride. (not solo as two people jumped on in back just in the nick of time). Hercules gave a typical early season ride. Slow and bumpy. It seems to get better last season as the year went on, so I'm hoping the same applies this year.

We continued down to the Tilt-A-Whirl. I don't spin well, so I just watched. The wife and daughter got a solo run and had their car spinning quite nicely.

We continued down the hill to Thunder Creek Mountain and saw it wasn't running. We were told someone lost their keys in a boat and they were cycling the ride looking for the keys - try back later. Ok then...

We kept our leisurely pace and strolled around to Thunderhawk. Another front seat walk-on! This ride is THE hidden gem at Dorney (well Laser is too, but for today it's Thunderhawk) - we got the standard pops of air at the top of every hill and the first bunny hop, then those trims catch and the last couple bunny hops are similar to driving quickly over a dip in the road. A little of that stomach feeling, but nothing more. I'd love the chance to do that ending with out trims...maybe someday.

From there it was a quick lap on Road Rally - which turned out to be the only wait of the day at roughly 5 minutes. This was mostly due to the fact that there were only 4 cars running. Let's just say we're lucky it's 11 years until my daughter gets her liscense and leave it at that.

A quick trip up my favorite path in the whole park (the one that runs under Thunderhawk) and we were in front of Steel Force. It was running half full trains (and still running two trains all day, just like Talon - bless you Dorney Park!). I got the first lap with our newly tall enough daughter. She's 5 and this would make her 5th lap on Steel Force this season. We almost waited for the front row but the line was two trains long so we walked on to 2-1. When we left the station, the station brakes felt like they grabbed and we jerked and slowed and kind of "thudded" out of the station and into the lift. The about a quarter to half way up the lift we stopped. In about 15 seconds we heard a ride-op asking everyone to make sure they had their seat belt locked and checking. Everyone was secure, then the op in the station came over the speakers on the lift saying "Check second car, first seat, right side" - it was me! My belt was still locked. We unlocked it and resnapped it. A quick thumbs up and we continued up the lift. Steel Force gives a totally different ride in the front, middle or back. The front is by far the tamest, but gives small pops of air at the top of the second and third hill. The middle delivers the best air on the hills returning to the station. The back lets you float down the first drop liike nobody's business. You almost have to ride it all three places to experience the best of every section of the ride. After our ride, my wife went for the re-ride with our daughter and (you guessed it!) walked-on to a 5-2 seat.

They noticed Thunder Creek Mountain was running so we headed back. On our way back we check to see if Little Laser was running but it wasn't, so we backtracked to TCM.

Thunder Creek Mountain is a blast. The way it follows the terrain is great and we got soaked in another walk-on ride. Since we were already nice and wet we decided White Water Landing would be fun.

Again this was the first year my daughter hit that coveted 48 inch mark. She's a verteran with Sea World's Journey To Atlantis and IOA's Jurassic Park River Adventure under her belt, but she seemed a little aprehensive. I think it was because she could see the whole ride. She still insisted we go, but just as we reached the belt to pull us out over the main drop she gave me a "put your arm around me, dad" and with that we fall and got completely drenched...completely....and totally....soaking wet. Freezing cold water. Another walk-on by the way.

Now there was no turning back. Thunder Canyon was to be the grand finale of the water trio. We never got around to this ride last season. I'm not big on getting really wet and with the Wildwater Kingdom right there, it seems a better choice. We made our way all the way around to the entrance. Speaking of which, they need to put some other attractions over that way. It's a long walk for that one ride and the nice big area for people to watch was really well done, but in 20 visits last season we had never seen it because we had no reason to head back around to that part of the park. That section is just begging for more traffic and another ride or two. Any way Thunder Canyon doesn't piss around. Screw little splashes up over the raft. To hell with letting guests pay a quarter to use glorified squirt guns to wet rides. We're just going to run you under a series of waterfalls. We walked on and had a raft to ourselves and I swear we got directly nailed by every last one of those freakin' waterfalls along the way. If it was possible to get any more wet than before - we did. Each waterfall was like a thousand little pins pricking your back and taking every ounce of breath from your lungs. It was cold!!!

We had a good laugh over getting so wet and backtraked all the way around to the main midway and took the coldest spin in recorded history on Waveswinger. We rode the swings at SFGAdv in the 40 degree weather last month, but this had that beat hands down. The temperature was falling, the sun was low, the wind kicked up and we were drenched head to toe spinning on a wicker basket attached to some chains. Just dandy!

The wife wanted one more spin on Talon so she got lap in the back (to make up for the one in the front) - again a total walk-on.

As we left I looked at the clock above the gate it was 5:40. We did all of that in just 2 1/2 hours. Not bad. As we got in the car we saw two more trains run on Talon. Each one had two riders in the front row and the rest was empty. It was one of those days that if we didn't have the kids with us, we could've marathoned on either Steel Force or Talon and probably got more laps in than anyone has the right too.

Two seasons experience on Mother's Day at Dorney Park and I can only assume that "Moms Don't Dig Dorney". Definitely a day I'd recommend visiting the park.

Dorney Park Visits in 2003: 4

*** This post was edited by Lord Gonchar 5/12/2003 12:24:17 AM ***

Monday, May 12, 2003 3:26 PM
kpjb's avatar It's not just Dorney, for the past 13 years that I've been at Kennywood, every mother's day is super-slow, nice weather or not.

I've wanted to hit Dorney for a while now... how far would you say you are from Pittsburgh? Mapquest always overestimates things. (I think they assume you go 45 on all highways.) Is it a possible one day trip?

Oh, by the way... the new RCT:WW is a ripoff and it sucks.

(Okay, I know LG got the joke, but for the rest of you, I'll add this: ) ;)

Come on, fhqwgads!

Monday, May 12, 2003 3:34 PM
generally mothers day and fathers day are the slowest days of the year at most seasonal parks!
Monday, May 12, 2003 8:14 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar I'm originally from Butler (just north of Pittsburgh), kpjb. My family still lives there. It's about a 4 hour drive if we head north to 80 and zip across. Almost 300 miles exactly. I imagine the turnpike would be the best option if Pitt - Allentown was the trip. I'm guessing you'd be looking about the same drive time.

Not exactly a day trip sort of thing. However if you made a weekend of it, you may want to use 80 and stop by Knoebel's :) Or still stay south and hit Hershey and/or Dutch Wonderland...

...or not. (I get carried away sometimes)

And yes, RCT:WW does suck! Infogrames lied to us! ;)

Dorney Park Visits in 2003: 4

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 5:48 PM
kpjb's avatar Is Knoebel's that close to Dorney? Last year my wife and I did Hershey/Knoebel's/Lakemont on a 2-day mini-vacation. (I get in free to all these parks, but never have time to visit because of my job.) Maybe this year we could do the same with Dorney instead of Hershey.

Atari lied to me. Ms. Pac-Man is the same as Pac-Man just with different patterns and colors. I want my 25c back.

Come on, fhqwgads!

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 6:24 PM
Is it me or does Thunderhawk seem smoother this year? I remember back a few years when it was just painful to ride, but now it's much more enjoyable.

Goal for 2003: Match Gonchar's Dorney Visits
My total: 1

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 6:32 PM
I was there the day before Mothers Day, and it was really nice. Not everything a walkon as Lord Gonchar's visit, but pretty close. I really enjoy the park, and always have a blast. The longest wait I had all day was getting my season passes processed, and that wasnt that bad. Its a great park. Hercules is the only bad thing. Since I rode it the seasons before trims I don't think I could ever enjoy it again. The ride is so slow after the first drop that there is no need to have the banked turns. Oh well. Thunderhawk makes up for it.
Thursday, May 15, 2003 11:41 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar kpjb, yeah, it's not far from Dorney to Knoebel's. About 75 miles if you take the "back roads" - the problem there is they're small and slow. The alternative is 476 north to 80 west. It's longer but if you drive like me, it's probably quicker. Mapquest suggests the "back roads" route and says 1hr 50 min. Not sure how accurate that is. But basically, yes, Knoebel's is pretty close. Plus if you come this way let me know. My wife is the GM at the Hampton Inn about 5 or 6 miles from Dorney. I'm sure I could swing a small discount for you. We helped out a few enthusasts coming last season for Coastermadness. I think she gave them something like 20% off. If made a $99 room, $79. A nice little savings if that's the type of hotel you prefer to stay in. I think the standard room rate this summer is $109, IIRC. If you're a "how cheap can I go" person, you can find cheaper in the area though. They (her hotel) sold discount Dorney tickets last season, but I think they passed this year as it was a ton of hassle to keep track of and people (even other hotels nearby) tended to abuse it a bit. Just some thoughts. :)

Eastcoaster, it's not too hard to get to Dorney when you're a few minutes away. Even if we just head over for a couple of hours in the evening then I consider that a "visit". Multiple visits in one day do NOT count, however. Basically it's a count of how many different days I (we) stop by and get in some rides. I was actually hoping to be 5 for 5 at this point, but the wife got stuck at work last Friday...sigh.

Dorney Park Visits in 2003: 4

Thursday, May 15, 2003 2:03 PM
coasterqueenTRN's avatar Hmm, I will remember that next Mother's Day. :-) For some reason I thought parks would be PACKED on that day. Does Father's Day have the same affect on parks?


Feel The DragsterGasm....
*** This post was edited by coasterqueenTRN 5/15/2003 6:04:17 PM ***

Tuesday, May 20, 2003 5:09 AM
Wasn't Laser open that day?

"You know its a good ride when you come into the final break run wiping tears from your eyes"-me


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